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Cherry picks first line for Team Canada: Thornton, Heatley and Marleau

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - With less than six weeks to go until Steve Yzerman unveils Team Canada, Don Cherry thinks he's found a first line.

The outspoken host of CBC-TV's "Coach's Corner" says that the Canadian men's Olympic team needs to put three Sharks front and centre at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"Right off the bat, I don't know how they can get anybody else - first line's gotta be (Joe) Thornton, (Patrick) Marleau and (Dany) Heatley," Cherry told The Canadian Press in an interview at CBC headquarters on Tuesday.

Thornton, Marleau and Heatley comprise the first line for the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks, and all three players stood were in the top 10 in league scoring entering Tuesday's games.

And yet, all three players aren't necessarily a lock for next year's team. Thornton and Heatley were both on the roster when Canada finished seventh at the Turin Games in 2006, while Marleau has never played in the Olympics.

But Cherry says they need to be there.

"They'll annihilate anyone they play," he said. "Anybody they play, it's unbelievable. Heatley and Thornton - it's a marriage made in heaven."

Cherry says he likes Canada's chances of winning a gold medal on home ice, though he acknowledges the lofty level of competition in hockey at the Games.

"We should win it," he said. "Unfortunately for us, every other team has 20 good players, and we have 60 good players. We could put three teams in there that could win, so anything could happen.

"Whoever's goalie is the hottest is going to win. That's the way it is in a series like that, you get a goalie on a roll, you're going to win."

So who does he want between the pipes for Canada? Cherry says it's a no-brainer.

"You gotta go with (Martin) Brodeur," he said. "You want to experiment, go ahead, but I wouldn't throw anybody in there but Brodeur. Give him a shot, see how he plays at the start.

"I trust him. He's been there, he's done it all, he's having a hell of a year. He's the guy. He knows this is the last shot at the Olympics. He'll play his heart out."

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